Programme of the Federal Councillors attending the WEF Annual Meeting 2015
Bern, 20.01.2015 - The Federal Council believes that the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting is of great importance to Davos and to Switzerland. Each year, this event brings together leaders from the worlds of business and government. It serves as a venue for an informal exchange of opinions on major topical issues. In view of the current economic and political challenges, the opportunity for such direct contact among decision-makers from government, business and civil society is extremely valuable.
The WEF Annual Meeting provides the Federal Council with a unique platform to cultivate relations with a great many leading figures in a special setting. This year also presents the opportunity for exchanges with members of the newly appointed European Commission. All members of the Federal Council will be holding meetings in Davos; as many as 60 bilateral meetings are likely to take place.
President Simonetta Sommaruga, head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP), will open the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos on Wednesday, 21 January, together with Prof. Klaus Schwab. On the opening day, she will also meet with the Chinese prime minister, Li Keqiang. Federal councillors Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and Alain Berset will also be present at the meeting. While in Davos President Sommaruga will hold talks with the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, the Swedish prime minister, Stefan Löfven, the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and the German interior minister, Thomas de Maizière. Meetings are also planned with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (Egypt), President Ilham Aliyev (Azerbaijan) and the Tunisian prime minister, Mehdi Jomaa.
On Thursday lunchtime President Sommaruga, the Italian foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni and other guests will take part in a live debate on SRF on the subject of ‘Escaping Poverty'. On Thursday evening the president is expected to attend a debate at the Open Forum on the subject of ‘Open Borders: Unavoidable or unnecessary?'
Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, vice president of the Federal Council and head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), will be in Davos between Wednesday, 21 January, and Saturday, 24 January. During that time, he will meet a number of prime ministers and various trade and industry ministers. Vice President Schneider-Ammann's discussion partners will include the Latvian prime minster, Laimdota Straujuma, who currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, and Germany's vice chancellor and economic affairs minister, Sigmar Gabriel.
Together with Federal Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, the head of the EAER will also meet with Jyrki Katainen, one of the seven European Commission vice presidents, who holds the portfolio for jobs, growth, investment and competiveness. At his meeting with the Indonesian trade minister, Rachmat Gobel, Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann will discuss negotiations on a possible free trade agreement.
On Saturday, Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann will host an informal WTO ministerial meeting with around 25 participants to discuss progress in implementing the package of measures decided at the WTO Ministerial Conference held in Bali in 2013.
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), will be in Davos between Wednesday evening and Friday and has planned talks during that time with the First Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermanns, as well as with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini. The Swiss foreign minister will also be holding talks with his counterparts, Laurent Fabius (France), Mohammad Javad Zarif (Iran) and Tamar Tamar Beruchashvili (Georgia), as well as with Tony Blair, the special envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East. On Friday, Federal Councillor Burkhalter and Prof. Klaus Schwab will sign an agreement between Switzerland and the WEF based on the Host State Act, which provides for enhanced cooperation.
Federal Councillor Alain Berset, head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, will use the meeting with the delegation from China to sign a bilateral agreement covering the fields of health and foodstuffs. He will also meet the German vice chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, the German health minister, Hermann Gröhe, and the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz.
Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), will meet with his German counterpart, Ursula von der Leyen, on Thursday on the fringes of the WEF Annual Meeting.
Federal Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, head of the Federal Department of Finance (FDF), will hold talks in Davos - in addition to those already outlined - with the Italian finance minister, Pier Carlo Padoan, Commissioner Pierre Moscovici and the governor of the Mexican central bank, Agustín Carstens, on financial policy issues. Together with Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann, she will also meet the Indian finance minister, Arun Jaitley.
Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), will use her time in Davos on Thursday and Friday to hold talks on energy policy issues. As such, she will meet with European Commission vice president Maroš Šefčovič, who holds the portfolio for the Energy Union, the Austrian vice chancellor and energy minister, Reinhold Mitterlehner, as well as with Germany's vice chancellor and energy minister, Sigmar Gabriel. Federal Councillor Leuthard will also take part in two events in the WEF ‘Energy Summit' series.
The WEF Annual Meeting in Davos also provides numerous opportunities for further contacts and discussions; last-minute changes to the programme are therefore possible. The details listed above are therefore subject to change.Further information on the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos can be found at www.news.admin.ch > Documentation > World Economic Forum.
Address for enquiries
Thomas Abegglen, Federal Chancellery
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